Tuesday, January 03, 2012

Millard Fillmore Week

First the basics, which every schoolchild should know.

Born on January 7, 1800, Millard Fillmore rose from modest circumstances to become the last Whig president of the United States on July 9, 1850, when his predecessor died. He himself died on March 8, 1874, reportedly after telling his doctor that "the nourishment is palatable."

His signature is on all the bills forming the Compromise of 1850; the bill that made California a state; an act creating the Washington Territory (essentially the future Washington state); the appointment of Brigham Young as the first governor of the Utah Territory; orders sending Commodore Matthew C. Perry to open Japan; and a message to Napoleon III telling him to back off on plans to annex Hawaii.

Fillmore amassed a library in the White House, having found the place practically empty of books, but he did not install the first bathtub in the executive mansion. His administration resolved major disputes with Peru and Portugal and other nations. He helped found the University of Buffalo and the Buffalo Historical Society.

As the head of the ticket for the American Party in 1856 (the Know-Nothings, unfortunately), former president Fillmore got 21.5 percent of the popular vote, a record for a third party at the time. The only third-party candidate to receive a higher share of the popular vote since then was Theodore Roosevelt, as the head Bull Moose (Progressives) in 1912, with 27.4 percent.

1 comment:

Kevin Deany said...

Millard Fillmore Rules!